Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fundraising help needed

Many of you may have already seen this, but I wanted to post here, too, with a little more information.

Now that we are waiting on paperwork, we have some time to start fundraising to cover some of our adoption expenses.  Currently, we are organizing an online auction and are in need of donated items for the auction.  We are looking for any items that would be good in an online auction such as: gift cards, homemade items, gift packages, etsy shop items, home-based business goods, handmade jewelry, etc.  Basically, anything that anyone would like to donate would be cheerfully accepted! 

The auction will take place at the end of June and we will need to have the items set by mid-June.

Please share this information on your blog, facebook, etc.  Email me at: katiepetko (at) yahoo (dot) com with questions or to donate an item.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What I did not expect

Our adoption journey has taken on such different meaning now that we have been matched.  And I have had reactions that I did not expect.  Once matched, I did not expect . . .

That the orphan crisis would take on a new meaning.
I have wanted to adopt since before I was married.  I have prayed for these children even more so over the last several years, but I did not expect that my heart would break even more for these little ones.  The first few days after accepting Felicity's referral, I was happy, but even more, I was sad.  I would look at her face and cry.  I wished that she did not need to be adopted.  I was sad for her and for all that she had gone through in her young life.  For her abandonment and all the brokenness in the world that had caused her to need to be adopted.  The fact that there are over 147 million orphans in the world took on a whole new meaning when I had the face of a child in front of me that is my daughter and an orphan.

My heart would break for Felicity's birth parents in a new way.
When the tears fell for her, they also fell for her parents.  Especially for her mom.  I am sure she thinks about her daughter; wondering if she is OK, wondering if she has been adopted by a loving family.  I pray for healing for Felicity's mom.  For peace for her.  What a difficult decision she had to make.  She is a true hero in so many ways. Making such a tough decision, to do what she felt best for her daughter.  Because of Felicity's mom's heroic sacrifice, my life will be forever blessed.  For that, I owe her my gratitude and prayers.

That this time of waiting would feel so hard
Oh, this process seemed so easy until now.  And I used to complain . . . complain about the delays, and how long it had been taking, but those days were so easy compared to now.  Now, I stare at a face waiting for me to come get her.  I have a child who is not with us because of the length of the process and the paperwork.  And that is hard.  I just want her home with us.  I know that these days will go by quickly.  We have fundraising to do, homeschooling to complete and big changes in homeschooling that we need to prepare for. We have home projects to get done and girl stuff to buy.  Yes, the days will be full and go by faster than I expect, but right now waiting to go get her is HARD.

That I would stare at her photo every chance I would get
Her picture is in almost every room in our house.  Felicity is in our living room, on our refrigerator, on a shelf by our front door, and I have two pictures of her in our bedroom.  I look at her pictures ALL THE TIME.  And I lift up prayers for her when ever I have a quiet moment.  I think I do this because I do not want to forget that I have a child that is not with me right now, and that needs my attention and prayers just as much as the boys that surround me.

That there would be so much joy
The joy comes when looking at her pictures, in hearing my boys say "our little sister,"  in the congratulations from friends and family.  It comes from the kindness all around me, sharing in our joy.  Felicity has brought so much joy and happiness to us already . . . she is already living up to her name!

Friday, May 16, 2014

7 Quick Takes - More pictures of our little girl and a few adoption details

1. Our agency had a team travel to Felicity's orphanage a few weeks ago.  At the begining of the week, I got a zip file of about 30 photos of our cutie. I will spare you all and only share a few.

2.  What's Next??
Truthfully, I do not know all of the details.  I am in a few different adoption groups on Facebook and the acronyms that fly around after PA are foreign to me.  They make my mind boggle a bit.  I am just trying to focus on the next step, which is whatever our social worker tell us to do.  I am totally relying and trusting her. We LOVE our agency and social worker so much that I am completely confident she has us covered.
3. Care package
What I do know is that we can send a care package to this little cutie.  I have yet to read the care package instructions, but, if you were me, what would you want to put in it?

4. When do we go to China?
Most likely October.  Which seems so close, yet so far away (Am I the only one with the cheesy Hall and Oats song stuck in her head right now??).   Pray for us that it is October, as November would be BAD because Pete cannot miss work at the beginning of November.  If we get travel dates for November, we would have to request a postponement and I do not want to delay us getting Felicity any longer.

5.  I thought you said she has cleft lip/cleft palate?
I have gotten this one a lot when people see her photos.  Her lip was repaired in China and her palate surgery will be done a few months after we bring her home.  She will need several surgeries and extensive orthodontic work, and speech therapy over the years, but we will not know the extent of it all until we get Felicity home.  Thankfully, we live in an area with several great hospitals with Cleft Clinics.
6.  Not at all related to our adoption
Michelle, an amazing friend of mine from grad school, and an adoptive mom with a heart for missions is trying to go on a Mission trip with Style for Justice and she needs our help.  Click on the link here, and scroll down to the bottom to vote for her!  You do not need to register on the site to vote.

I totally LOVE this sassy look!

7. Run for the Little Flowers and adoption fundraising

It looks like we will be in China when I normally host the Run for the Little Flowers, BUT I am working on a great idea for a combination Run for the Little Flowers and run for our own adoption.  I have a theme for the run that I love and am just waiting to see if I can use lyrics to a song on the shirt.  Please pray that I get a yes.  Here is a hint . . .

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Her name (and a photo too)!

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.  1Kings 19:11-13

I often look to this scripture when I want a sign from God.  I am one of those ones who would love the clouds to part and to hear the big booming voice from the sky say, "This is the way, walk in it."  Yet, at no time in my life have I had that happen.  I try to remember God is in the gentle whisper.  And that is how He showed up in our adoption story once again.

Although we were certain that we would accept this little girl into our family, I still was looking of a big sign.  It did feel right, but I guess I just wanted a little more certainty.  On the Friday before we accepted her referral, I was meeting with my spiritual director, lamenting the fact that I had no big sign from God.  We joked about it for a second or two and then I remember mumbling this scripture under my breath.  Look for Him in the gentle whisper, Katie.

The day after we accepted this little girl's referral, we sat down after dinner for a family discussion.  It was time to choose a name.  We had talked about names for days, but none seemed right.  I knew I wanted Grace in her name; it was only fitting as it has been Grace that has carried us thus far, but we were not really sure on a first name.  Elizabeth? We have always liked that name.  Therese?  St. Therese has been a saint that we have relied on for intercession during our process. Mary?  Nothing seemed right.

Luckily, I had found this great list of girls' names, the saint behind the name, the feast day, and the meaning of the name.  I want a name with a strong meaning. Choosing a meaningful name can speak into the child's life.  As I scrolled through the list, I saw the name Amanda and I was taken by it.  I thought we just might have her name.  It means Worthy of Love, and what better meaning to speak into this little girl's life. We continued to talk as I scrolled down, reading off other names here and there.

And then I stopped.  And I started to tear up a bit.  The name Felicity.  Oh, I forgot I have always loved that name and its meaning. I love martyred saints and I think it is pretty cool that Felicity is in the Eucharistic prayer at mass too.  But, all of those things are not what caused the tears to flow.

Pete looked at me and asked what was wrong. 

"St. Felicity's Feast day is March 7th," I responded. "It is the day that our little girl was found."

Joshua looked at me and said, "Well, that's her name."

Her name, Felicity Grace, and how it came about was God's gentle whisper to me.  In that moment I knew.  Yes, she is our daughter.  And it amazed me too, because God showed me that He knows my heart so much better than I do.  He knew that so many years ago I prayed to have a little girl that I could name Felicity, and here she is.  He is fulfilling a promise, a desire that I forgot long ago and never even considered in this process.  He is so faithful!

And so, I am so excited to introduce you all to Felicity Grace,

Monday, May 12, 2014

When the phone rang. (Our adoption journey, Part 2)

We released the little boy’s file on a Thursday afternoon, and by Friday morning I was anxiously awaiting the phone to ring again.  I knew it could be MONTHS before it rang again, but since the first referral happened so quickly, I thought, I was hoping, it would happen sooner.  I knew that the shared list (a list put out monthly by the Chinese Child Welfare office of the adoptable children) would be coming out the following Monday night (Tuesday morning China time), so I hoped we would get a call Tuesday morning from our agency.  And since the phone did not ring Friday, I put my hope in a phone call on Tuesday.
So, that is why I was a little surprised to see our agency’s name on our caller ID on Monday morning.  I answered the phone, hoping for good news.  Our amazing social worker, in her sweet southern tone, said that she had a file for us to review.  The agency had just started a partnership with a new orphanage and this referral was from that orphanage.  Our social worker began to share that the file was for a sweet, 13 month old little GIRL!!  I think I stopped hearing all that she had to say at that moment . . . a girl???  She must have been mistaken; we were most likely going to get a boy.  Sure, we said we were open to a girl, but truthfully, I never thought we would get matched with a girl.  We had been telling our own boys for MONTHS that they would have a little brother.  When I talked about our adopted child to others, I often referred to the child as “he.”  A girl??  Not even on my radar.
Our social worker went on . . . this little girl had cleft lip and cleft palate, a special need that we had researched and felt comfortable accepting.  Then our social worker asked the question, “Would you like me to send you her file?” Of course I said yes.  I got off the phone with our social worker and immediately called my husband to say we got another referral,   a little GIRL.  I anxiously awaited the email containing the file and I could not wait to see her face.
I have read countless stories of families who have adopted.  And so many of them, the majority of them say that they have seen the picture of their little son or daughter and just knew, instantly, that that was their child.  Since we started this process so many months ago, I have searched waiting child listings, looked at more photos of orphans than I care to admit, and I have never felt that tug on my heart, that knowing that the eyes staring back at me, were the eyes of my child.  I did not feel that when I looked at the little boy’s file just the week before.  And I was hoping that I would look at this little girl and just know that she was my daughter.
As I opened the file and scanned through pages of Chinese script to get to the photos, I beheld the little girl and . . . NOTHING. .. I did not feel ANYTHING.  At that moment I thought, oh no, I do not want to turn down ANOTHER file.  And then I wondered if there was something wrong with me.  She is a cute little girl, at a young age, and special need we wanted and I felt nothing.  Why was I not ready to say yes?
Luckily, though, we had a full week to pray and review her file.  I contacted the International Adoption doctor again and set up a consultation for later in the week.  As a family we started to talk about the little girl:  the boys did NOT want a sister.  Even my hubby said he would prefer another boy.  And truthfully, I wanted another boy too.  I like being a mom to boys.  Would I even be a good mom to a girl??  We had lots to pray over. Over the next few days, Andrew and Caleb came around and started to say they wanted a sister, but Joshua, my oldest son, was insistent that he only wanted a brother.  My hubby was open to a girl, but both of us wondered why, if so many people wanted girls and waited for so long just to get a girl, and there were so many boys waiting, and we were open to a boy, why would we even get a girl’s file to review?  We would gladly give up her file for someone else.  So, on Wednesday of that week, I called our social worker and posed this question to her.  She explained that they want children to get into homes as quickly as possible and we were the only family that was as far along in the process (LID) that was open to her special need.  She said she would understand if we would prefer a boy and wanted to release her file.  I told her that we needed more time and wanted to wait to see what the doctor would say before making any decisions.
I was at a loss.  I would stare at this cute little girl’s picture, just hoping I would feel SOMETHING, but nothing was changing.  So, I sent a message to a woman whom I have gotten to know a little over the last two years, an awesome adoptive mom.  I shared some of my fears; I wondered if anyone had felt the same as I did.  I wondered if everyone looked at their future son or daughter’s picture and just “knew.”  She responded with a quick “Call Me.”  We talked that afternoon, for quite a while.  The call was amazing and just what I needed at that moment. My fears were alleviated.  It was so good to know that other adoptive moms have felt the way I did.  I told Lisa that I just wanted a sign from God that she was my daughter.  I did not care if I felt anything or not, I just wanted to know that this was His will.  And in the moment she said exactly what I needed to hear; “Katie, maybe your sign is that this little girl fits everything you wanted in a referral; with the exception that she is a girl.”
Something shifted in me after that phone call.  It was not an immediate change, but over the next day, I would look at this little girl’s picture, and my heart would soften a little bit more each time.  I started to, dare I say, love this little girl.  A love for her was growing in my heart. 
So, by Thursday evening, the night of our consultation with the doctor, we were all ready to say yes to this little girl, if the consultation went favorably.  The phone rang and we prepped ourselves for the call.  The doctor began, “Well, I reviewed the file of the little girl that you sent me and I want to say, Congratulations on a great referral.”  That was it.  That was all I needed to hear.  The rest of the conversation consisted of details of the little girl’s growth, the severity of her cleft palate and future surgeries and interventions necessary over the next 18 years of her life. We got off the phone with the doctor, and I was so happy.  I knew, at that moment, that we were looking at the file of our daughter!
Although we knew that night, we decided take a few more days and pray more before accepting the match.  And in those days of time, we all just fell in love with the little one.  Pete and I fell in love with the idea of having a daughter.  The boys fell in love with the idea of having a little sister. 
Now, almost a week later, our love and excitement for her has grown.  We have chosen a name (which needs a whole post onto itself), and her picture is in most rooms of our house!  We are so happy and cannot believe how faithful HE has been in this whole process. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Our adoption journey continues . . . (Part 1)

For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, you already know some of the developments, so bear with me. :-)
I need to start from about two weeks ago.  Our paperwork was on its way to China and we were waiting for the coveted LID (Logged in Dossier).  Once you are LID, you can be matched with a child at anytime.  We had had a conversation with your social worker.  She prepped us that we were close and she wanted to know, more specifically, the special needs we were willing to take, the age range we really wanted, etc, etc.  In that call, she reminded us that we would probably get a little boy since we were open to a boy and most people want to adopt a little girl.  So we would get a cute little boy and we were excited for more little boy around the house.
On Tuesday, April 22nd, I was sitting in the bleachers at the local pool, watching my boys swim in their swim lessons, and my phone rang.  Lifeline showed up on my screen.  I knew it.  This had to be our LID call.  I answered the phone and it was our social worker.  She told me that we were LID, she paused, and then said, " . . . and I have a file for you to review."
I was a bit shocked. I had really thought we would not get matched for at least a month.  Our social worker began to tell me about the file.  It was a file for a sweet little boy, about 17 months old.  She started to tell me his listed special needs . . . and my heart sank a bit.  He had special needs that we really were not open to.  So, when she asked me if we wanted to see his file, I wanted to say no.  But, at the same time, I did not want to limit God.  So, I said yes.  She sent the file and we began to review it.
We had 72 hours to make a decision.  We poured over and prayed over his pictures, read and re-read his file, and consulted with an International Adoption Physician.  And in those 72 hours, we knew that this little boy was NOT our son.  He had special needs that we were not equipped to take at this time.  So, on Thursday afternoon of the same week, I called our social worker and we released his file.  Our social worker was sweet and shared with us that she did not know when another file would come our way, but she would call when she had a file for us to review. 
And I prepped myself for another wait.  Waiting for another call.  Waiting to meet our child.
To be continued . . .